Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Duragold 14k White Gold Solid Box Chain Necklace (.50mm ), 18"

  • Duragold is 14k gold, the threshold of karat gold jewelry, lustrous in yellow or white gold
  • Duragold earrings are constructed with a unique and patented alloy resisting denting, scratching and hypoallergenic especially beneficial for sensitive skin
  • The Duragold collection includes, earrings, chains and pendants all beautifully made and will last a lifetime when properly cared for
  • Imported

List Price: $210.00
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Adorn your neck with the clean lines and classic design of the Duragold 14k White Gold Solid Box Chain Necklace. Small gold links pair together to form the tight, square-cut finish seen along this chain, emphasizing the look of one solid gold piece. This beautiful chain contains the same dedication to quality and precision seen with all Duragold jewelry. Pair the chain with your favorite pendant or wear it solo to showcase to your elegant and classic style. Choose from a variety of chain thicknesses and lengths. 14k Rose Gold 1mm Rope Chain Necklace, 18": Jewelry There is nothing more elegant and poised than the 14k Rose, Tri-Color or White Gold Rope Chain Necklace. Ornate links form a twisting pattern, its movement revealing ... gold crosses - Unique Jewelry at Jewelry We would like to show you a description here but the site wont allow us. 18k Gold Chains - Gemstone Globes - Childrens Jewelry - Gold ... 18k Gold Chain - Italian 18k Gold Box Chain, 0.8mm wide YYKBOX053: View Details Sterling Silver Nail Cross Pendant. This Cross symbolizes Jesus ... Show a little sparkle along with your spirituality when you wear our dainty CZ necklace pendant. It makes a perfect gift for any occasion, and is a simple and stylish ... antique jewelry eBay - Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles ... Find great deals on eBay for antique jewelry and estate jewelry. Shop with confidence. David Jewelers Fine Jewelry, sports and collegiate jewelry ... IN STORE HOURS MONDAY-FRIDAY 10:00 AM TO 5:00 PM. SATURDAY 10:00 AM TO 3:30 PM EASTERN TIME Mens Gold Chains from This is a classic! A tasteful Italian link necklace is the perfect accessory for both men and women. 10k chain eBay - Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles ... Find great deals on eBay for 10k chain and sterling silver charm bracelet. Shop with confidence. 10k White Gold 24" 0.7 mm Box Chain Necklace - O Ring ... 10k White Gold 24 Inch X .7 mm Box Chain Necklace - 1.2 Grams solid 10k White Gold - JewelryWeb Style: TBOXW045H24 - FREE gift-ready jewelry box There's a problem ... Mother of Pearl 14k Finest 14k Designs with Antique Chinese Mother ... Now set in 14 karat hand made crafted jewelry designs by a Master Jeweler from designs created by myself,and my special designs for custom orders; these very rare ...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yummy Gifts

Two of my favorite Christmas gifts are food and drink. Pictured below is a sample of the edible goodies I got this year: coffee and Hickory Farms gift sets.

Can you spot the two Christmas ornaments not hanging from the tree?

Gold Fever

If you are not playing gold rush you should be. And you should make me your gold buddy. My screen name is deitri3.

Top of the World, Ma!

This squirrel thought it would be cool to run around inside the walls of my house. Yesterday, it got trapped and "relocated" for its actions. The guy who "took care" of it promised to do the same thing to any of its furry little friends.

Let's hope the other one that got caught today is its only friend in the world.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Heart and Soul

Tomorrow night, Rozi's Wine House in Lakewood is hosting a Charity Wine Tasting to raise awareness for congenital heart disease. It's $25 and no reservations are required.

A friend and I went last year, and it was incredible. But, we made the mistake of getting there an hour or two after it began and didn't get to sample all of the wines. We did get to taste all of the food that was prepared by Lolita executive chef Matt Harlan, which was great. We talked to the chef for a while too, and he's a really nice guy.

So, if you are in the area and have the money and time, come out and drink with us. If you have lots of money you can bid on the silent auction items. Last year they were auctioning off a chance to ride a Zamboni. Who doesn't love a Zamboni?

14 Karat Yellow Gold Long Box Chain (20 inch)

  • This yellow gold necklace makes a great gift idea for any occasion
  • Weighs 0.79 gram(s)
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Simple and fashionable, this gleaming yellow gold necklace lets you express your style. Perfect for your everyday look, easy to wear, a perfect gift for yourself or your loved one.

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Double Fudge Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Naked cupcakes


Ample supply of cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday.

Double fudge chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. The recipe was supposed to yield 24 cupcakes, but I got 30 out of it. I kept the leftovers since my cupcake carrier only holds 18, and I decided to freeze the ones that weren't frosted (seven in total) so we'll see if they really do "freeze well" like the recipe says. As usual, I halved the frosting recipe. Who needs six cups of frosting?

Let's Have a Ball!

These are cupcakes I made for my godson's birthday party. They were yellow cake with white chocolate buttercream frosting. The boy's mother and I decorated them.

The baseballs are decorated with red pull and peel Twizzlers, the soccer balls with dark brown M & Ms and black decorating gel, the basketballs are orange-dyed frosting (done after refrigerating to add texture) with chocolate Twizzlers and the tennis balls were yellow-dyed frosting topped with white frosting and sprinkled with sanding sugar to create a fuzzy look.

The cake was from a brick and mortar bakery. Heavy frosting over chocolate cake. I think the football was entirely made of frosting.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Batman Cake

This was my littlest nephew's 3rd birthday cake, which was for his Batman-themed party. He dressed as Batman, his brother as Nightwing, and the rest of us as various villains from Batman's rogues gallery. My sister handled the decorating duties. The symbol was made by adding yellow frosting to the chocolate-frosted cake. The cake underneath is Special Birthday Cake, and the chocolate frosting is Mrs. Millman's. The yellow frosting is a simple buttercream (butter, powdered sugar, milk).

Co-dessert bat-shaped cookies. This picture looked better upside-down so that's how I'm posting it.

German's Sweet Chocolate Cake

I had never made a German Chocolate Cake, or as it's called in the linked recipe, German's Sweet Chocolate Cake. So after a funny exchange with my Tia about what to make for Memorial Day, I decided to make one for that holiday's dessert.

I don't have three 9-inch round cake pans, so I did two layers and had a lot of frosting leftovers as a consequence. Still, it looked and tasted like classic German Chocolate Cake (I should have taken a better side picture to show the filling between the layers.) The gooey frosting was a perfect match to the sweet and light chocolate cake.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

14k Gold Cute Pendant Sideways Cross Necklace (16 Inches)

  • Cute necklace with sideways cross pendant
  • made with genuine 14K yellow gold
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List Price: $275.00
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Strut you style and express your faith wearing this cute Sideways Cross Necklace. This shiny piece of jewelry is crafted with authentic 14K yellow gold, including a ravishing rolo chain.||Please feel free to browse our wide selection of jewelry here at Claddagh Gold on Amazon. All of our products are made in the USA at our state-of-the-art factory right in the heart of Los Angeles, California; every single item is crafted with rigorous quality control and expert craftsmanship. You can rest assured that each item is backed by our best-in-the-business customer satisfaction guarantee.

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2011 Fall Television Schedule

I waited a bit to write this post since shows are still premiering. Of course, shows have already been cancelled too. Anyway, here's what I'm watching this fall.

Plan your own lineup here.

8:00 PM
TiVo: How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Adventure Time (Cartoon)

8:30 PM
TiVo: 2 Broke Girls (CBS)

9:30 PM
TiVo: Mike & Molly (CBS)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Hawaii Five-O (CBS)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Ringer (CW)
Live/Online/On-Demand: New Girl (FOX)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Chopped (Food)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Covert Affairs (USA)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Modern Family (ABC)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Man v. Food Nation (Travel)

9:30 PM
TiVo: I Hate My Teenage Daughter (FOX)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Psych (USA)
Live/Online/On-Demand: South Park (Comedy)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Top Chef: Just Desserts (Bravo)

8:00 PM
TiVo: Community (NBC)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Person of Interest (CBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: The Office (NBC)
Live/Online/On-Demand: Bones (FOX)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Burn Notice (USA)

6:30 PM
TiVo: Young Justice (Cartoon)

7:00 PM
TiVo: Batman: The Brave and The Bold (Cartoon)

8:00 PM
TiVo: Chuck (NBC)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Grimm (NBC)

10:00 PM
TiVo: Blue Bloods (CBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: The Soup (E!)


8:00 PM
TiVo: Once Upon A Time (ABC)

9:00 PM
TiVo: Masterpiece Contemporary or Masterpiece Mystery! (PBS)
Live/Online/On-Demand: The Next Iron Chef (Food)

10:00 PM
Live/Online/On-Demand: Iron Chef America (Food)

CBS is definitely the winner. When did their shows get good?

I'll be adding 30 Rock, Cougar Town and maybe some more shows when they premiere (mid-season?).

Gold Cake

Leftover egg yolks are lovely to have if you want to do a bit of extra baking. Given spare time, I often fill it with baking. I found this recipe for Gold Cake that was perfect for the yolks that I had left from the Italian Buttercream Frosting seen in the last post. And guess what? I used the last bit of that frosting to top this cake! There wasn't enough to frost the sides, though.

In person, the cake matched the yellow crayon more than the picture shows.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Adios, Passions!

One of my favorite television shows and definitely my favorite soap opera ever has come to an end. The series finale of Passions aired last week. Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch it when it aired since I don't have DirectTV, but by following this link (thanks for sending it to me jenni!) I saw it today. It's a good ending to a crazy show.

Here's part 5 of 5 for those interested in knowing the fates of the residents of Harmony. If you never watched it (or haven't watched it lately) start with part one, which might not explain anything really.

So, goodbye Harmony residents! I'll miss you!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bottle of Red, Bottle of White

Here are two wines I've drunk and enjoyed recently:

At India Garden, I enjoyed this red from the Sahyadri Valley in Maharashtra, India. I had my usual, Palak Paneer (which I ordered off-menu and medium spicy). Our waiter/owner of the restaurant said he wasn't a wine drinker and couldn't recommend a wine to go with dinner, but I thought this Cab went well with the spice and heat of the dish.

This white I bought at Trader Joe's as part of my splurge of buying a case of wine after I found out I was being laid-off. It's very light and summery and tastes great by itself. I tried to pair it with a chicken pasta salad I made, but the vinaigrette was way too strong for this Pinot. Maybe something with less acidity would have complimented it better.

I was very excited to order the wine at India Garden because there were just two of us and I knew we'd get to take advantage of Ohio's "Merlot to go" law. I gotta remember to do that more often.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sugar and Lime

The song currently running non-stop through my head:

Melt Bar and Grilled

Melt Bar and Grilled
13463 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
Dinner: July 25, 2010 (takeaway)

Mighty Macaroni Melt

Although it took me a few weeks to get to the Cleveland Heights Melt after it first opened, I've made good use of my Big Cheese Club card in last couple of months. In fact, I visited there a total of five times in July! On my first (July 2) and last (July 30) visits I ordered the sandwich of the month, which is the Firecracker Chicken: hot diablo blackened chicken, cool sliced avocado, sweet grilled pineapple and pepperjack cheese. My second visit I got my usual order of the Big Popper: fresh jalapeno peppers, cheddar & herbed cream cheese, beer battered and served with mixed berry preserves. Both sandwiches blend a little bit of sweet with a decent amount of heat. The cheese in each goes so well with both sweet and spicy elements and truly binds the sandwiches together.

On the third visit, I tried the Tokyo Tuna Melt: Asian marinated grilled yellowfin steak, ginger wasabi dressing, lettuce, tomato, muenster. I ordered the tuna rare, which was probably a mistake since the sandwich was a little too fishy to be truly delicious. It was good, but not great.

Pictured is the Mighty Macaroni Melt that was available for one day only in celebration of Christmas in July. The sandwich is creamy homemade macaroni and cheese that's breaded and fried to a golden brown and grilled with American cheese on thick sliced white bread. It was carb-o-licious!

Whether I order in or get takeout, I always skip the slaw and order double fries for an extra $.25. The slaw is too peppery for me to be enjoyable, which is too bad since I like most coleslaws. On most of my visits I was denied pickles because I was told by both servers and hosts that the pickles come with the slaw and not the sandwich. However, on my last visit my waiter told me that pickles are free(!) and that whoever told me differently was wrong. He gave me a large side of pickle slices for no charge.

My only complaint, which is not really a complaint, about Melt would be the servers and hosts/hostesses. There is definitely a "Melt" attitude that the front of house workers exude. I know they're very busy, and I've been told that they don't get breaks so maybe that's why the staff isn't overly nice. They aren't rude or nasty, just not especially friendly. They ARE all extremely knowledgeable about the menu and make helpful suggestions about drinks, but getting one to smile is like trying to break a guard at Buckingham Palace!

Most people who have heard of Melt know that the wait for a table can be hours long. Even a takeaway order can take over an hour to be ready. I would suggest going mid-afternoon (2-3 PM) or after 10PM if you can. Or head straight to the bar and eat there with little to no waiting.

14k Yellow Gold Cross with Diamond-Accent, (0.375 ct), 18"

  • All our diamond suppliers certify that to their best knowledge their diamonds are not conflict diamonds.
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Too Much Butter

I have a lot of butter in my fridge that I hope to use before it goes bad. As I was looking through my recipes, it struck me that I should start with Butter Cookies (der!). These are Martha Stewart's recipe for Butter Twists from a Christmas cookie magazine she put out a few years ago. I made most of them twists, but threw in a few pretzel shapes to be fancy. I also sprinkled them with sanding sugar before baking to give them some sparkle.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Look, I'm famous.

Pure Cupcakes

Based on Sweet Revenge's Pure Cupcakes. I didn't use the parchment method, although it is a fun twist on the basic boring liners.

Heavily frosted

Split open to show texture, but photographed poorly so that all detail is obscured.

The crumb on the cupcakes was heavy, yet light. The taste was eggy and very vanilla-y! The gals who helped eat them are big custard fans so they approved of this variation on a yellow cake. I've discovered that frosting like this buttercream that uses a little shortening has a better consistency than butter alone. I've taken to adding a tablespoon or two to my other recipes as a result.

Monday, July 22, 2013

10k Yellow Gold and Three-Stone Champagne Diamond Heart Pendant Necklace (0.10 cttw, I2-I3 Clarity), 18"

  • Shining 10k yellow gold forms the foundation of this classic heart pendant necklace, and the champagne diamond accents add a gleaming glamorous detail, making this a certain favorite addition to her jewelry collection.
  • Spring-ring clasp
  • All our diamond suppliers certify that to their best knowledge their diamonds are not conflict diamonds.
  • The total diamond carat weight listed is approximate. Variances may be up to .01 carats.
  • Imported

List Price: $309.00
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A polished open heart shape supports a display of three colorful stones, to create this classic accessory design. Choose from sterling silver, white, yellow or rose gold, supporting rounded blue sapphire, pink sapphire, black or white diamond stones.

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Sweet Potato Pie

I went to a clam bake that had leftovers so I came home with some clams and sweet potatoes. I asked for A sweet potato, but came home with four. I used the (three dozen!) clams in Manhattan clam chowder, which turned out great, and the sweet potatoes in the pie pictured above.
I thought the sweet potatoes were incredibly sweet so I cut the sugar to 3/4 cup. I also added cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. I used a graham cracker crust because I had graham cracker crumbs that needed to be used up.
There are a lot of variations to sweet potato pie and this one was exactly what I was looking for. I didn't want to use evaporated or sweetened condensed milk or make the filling too custardy. The end result tasted just like I thought it would from reading the recipe. I love it when that happens!

Men's 14k Yellow Gold Solid Large Polished Cross with Rope Chain Necklace, 20"

  • Cross Pendant is .75mm Thick
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chocolate Heart

Another Valentine's Day birthday cake for my oldest nephew's golden birthday. Double-fudge chocolate cake with dried strawberries inside. Chocolate glaze and fresh strawberries for decoration.

I had to improvise a container to hold the cake since it was too big for any of my normal carriers. I used a cardboard shoe (boot) box. It's a good thing I don't have delicate feet!

Peanut Butter Cookies

I thought these cookies looked so cute on the baking sheet, all nice and lined up. I didn't use the Jif recipe this time. I like the Jif recipe better because they have a soft and chewy texture, but these are a safer choice to take to a party because they aren't too soft or too crisp. They held up well throughout the week, too. The first batch I made were so successful that I made another batch a few days later.

Spinach Pie

Whole pie

Savory slice

I got the recipe for this pie from my friend's parenting magazine. It's surprisingly simple and delicious. I'm not sure why they called it a pie and not a quiche. Maybe it's the ratio of egg to other ingredients in the filling. My only big modification to the original recipe is to make my own pie crust. This crust is 2/3 white (all purpose) flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour. It was really good with this type of pie, but I don't think I'd use it for a sweet one. I couldn't find a link to the recipe online, so here it is:

Spinach Pie
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups diced onion (one large)
1 9-inch frozen pie shell (or crust from scratch)
Scant 1 cup reduced-fat milk
3 large eggs
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in skillet. Add onions and saute on medium high for 10-15 minutes, until they're soft and caramelized. Remove; let cool slightly.
2. Prick pie shell with a fork; bake 10 minutes. Crust from scratch does not need to be pre-baked. Meanwhile, whisk milk, eggs, cheese, garlic powder, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Add onions and spinach.
3. Pour egg mixture into cooled pie shell and bake 45-60 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Edges of pie should be browned.

Negative Ghost Cake

Here's the cake I made for a birthday that fell a few days before Halloween and was celebrated on All Saints Day. The cake is yellow and the frosting should have been white chocolate buttercream frosting but was instead semi-sweet chocolate buttercream frosting because I have some chocolate chips that melted and reset while still in the bag and, while still usuable, can't be used for cookies and the like.
I think the eyes and mouth were put on a little low and were possibly too big for the cake, but you get the general idea.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sergio's Sarava Desserts

Sergio's Sarava
13225 Shaker Square
Cleveland, OH 44120
Dinner; November 4, 2008
Party of Two

We each had a three-course dinner that ended with fantastic desserts. My dining companion and I took shots of all three courses, but the appetizers and entrees didn't photograph as good as they tasted. Also, I kind of forgot all the details of the first two courses and their descriptions aren't online. So, here are pictures and descriptions of the yummy desserts.

SERGIO’S COCONUT BUTTER CAKE – whipped cream, crème Anglaise, toasted coconut
A pretty dense cake that was made richer by the bed of cream it sat on and the dollop of cream that topped it.

OURO PRETO TORTE – black-gold chocolate cake. A dense, flourless cake topped with chocolate ganache and sparkles of real gold leaf

But, I remember the details of my first visit to Sarava (no pictures) in great detail.

Dinner; October 25, 2008
Party of Two

Diner 1 - Mojito
Diner 2 - Mojito mocktail

Shared Street Plates
Crisp Spanish Cheese with kalamata olive and caper-spiced tomato sauce
Prince Edward Island Mussels simmered in a lemon-pepper butter broth
Sticky Ribs with a hoisin BBQ glaze

Diner 1
Pan-Seared Sea Scallops in a ginger-cider reduction with lemongrass and coconut milk, rice and crispy fried spinach (substituted for the seasonal vegetables)
Coconut Butter Cake (see picture above)

Diner 2
Mojito mocktail
Brazilian Beef with black beans and rice, farofa, fried spinach, orange slices and carioca tomato relish
Ouro Preto Torte (see picture above)

The hoisin glaze on the Sticky Ribs started smoky and ended sweet. The scallops' sauce was similarly complex but started spicy and ended sweet. No matter what you get there you should order the fried spinach. It has a crisp texture that just about melts the minute it hits your tongue. The mussels were not at all fishy or chewy and the sauce was the type you wanted to pick up and drink after the dipping bread was finished. The Spanish cheese was no ordinary fried cheese with tomato sauce. My dining companion stated that although she doesn't really like fried cheese she loved this street plate. Maybe it was the sauce.

The food was all about taste and texture and was fresh and delicious.

I'd definitely go back and I'm sure to end my meal with the Coconut Butter Cake. It was delicious warm and cold.

And their Mojitos are to die for.

Black and White

These cupcakes were dessert for Memorial Day.  Both are Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes.  The one on the left has Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting, and the one on the right has a simple vanilla buttercream frosting (6 T butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 t vanilla, milk to thin it out.)

The cupcake paper on the right is supposed to look like a flower.  I like these type of "fun" liners, but their size tends to be a little bigger than a standard cupcake tin. I made some in my jumbo tin and some in the regular one, which worked well enough.

I make these chocolate/chocolate cupcakes a lot since they are easy and delicious so I was just going to make chocolate/white cupcakes. But, I made two frostings since at least one person in my family prefers chocolate/chocolate to chocolate/white.   

Friday, July 19, 2013


Ooh look, a fire! I love coffee.

Chocolate Explosion!

This cake was a commission for a friend of a friend. The birthday boy requested (or it was requested on his behalf) a "chocolate Bundt cake with chocolate chips and chocolate icing." I didn't have a recipe that fit the description so I had to improvise and experiment.

Not pictured are the test cakes. The first attempt was a chocolate pound cake. I'm not sure if it was the addition of chocolate chips to the recipe, but the cake did not cut very well. It tasted okay but not really spectacular. The first attempt at the icing was spot-on with the exception of being doubled in the finished product.

The second stab at the cake was a heavy chocolate cake recipe that I've used before with the addition of chocolate chips. Test cake #2 cut very nicely and tasted great so I knew I had a winner. I topped that cake with a white chocolate icing, which was a little too sweet for the cake, but was just for fun since I like white chocolate.

The final cake was well-received and might have led to another commission. It's a little too chocolaty for me, but is just chocolaty enough for chocoholics.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Banana Bread

I make banana bread whenever I have overripe bananas. I don't usually plan it. But on occasion I actually buy extra bananas and intentionally let them get too ripe to eat. I have a bunch of recipes for banana bread, but this time around I used the Kitchen-Aid recipe. The only change I made was adding cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
The loaf pictured was one that I didn't get to eat since I gave it to some friends who were in from out of town. I did try some of its sister loaf, which was delicious.

Top Chef 2010

I went to a fundraiser at St. John Medical Center which was a competition between four local chefs: Ellis Cooley, Jonathon Sawyer, Jonathan Bennett and Regan Reik. Actually, it was two competitions since there was a winner by popular vote and a winner by judges vote. One of my favorite food experts, Ted Allen was the host and one of the judges. The other judges were Al "Bubba" Baker and the 2009 winner of the Top Chef event, Brandt Evans. I took pictures of the food because it was mostly pretty and delicious. The descriptions aren't mine but are from the souvenir program.

Terrine of Beets and Lake Erie Creamery Goat Cheese, Beet Gastrique and Beet Paper
Sirloin of Beef Roulade Short Ribs, Corned Beef, Lobster Carrot Puree and Parmigiano
[Not Pictured]
Beets are one of my favorite vegetables and the goat cheese complimented them very well. The beet paper was insanely sweet and crunchy. I'm not sure how I missed taking a picture of the entree. It was hearty and satisfying, but there might have been too many ingredients fighting for attention. The slight sweetness of the corned beef paired well with the naturally sweet puree and the short ribs were more tender and tastier than other beef ribs I've had. The appetizer tied for my favorite of the night and the entree was my second favorite making Chef Cooley the winner of my vote. Sadly, he did not win.

Fois Gras Steamed Clams with Butter, Red Onion Brulee, Late Harvest Viognier Vinegar and Grilled Bread

Ohio Lamb Crepinette with Heirloom Vegetable Ratatouille

Chef Sawyer's clams were my other favorite appetizer of the night. They were perfectly cooked and were not in the least bit chewy, as is often the case with clams. The broth was light but packed with flavor and was oh so good to dip the [not pictured] grilled bread. I *might* have had three servings of the clams. I'm not the biggest fan of the gaminess of lamb, but the crepinette made the best of it. The ratatouille was more of a sauce than a layered side dish, which allowed me to enjoy the entree as a whole since I could use the stewed vegetables to mask the lambiness of the meat. Anyone who enjoys the taste of lamb would have given the dish 4 stars.

Spiced Poach Shrimp, Coarse Gazpacho and Whipped Cilantro

18-Hour Ohio Pork Shoulder, JB's Grits and Spicy Peach Slaw
Chef Bennett's creations won the fan vote, which really surprised me. My shrimp was poached to perfection but didn't have a hint of spice. The gazpacho was more like a bed of thinly sliced vegetables with a slight kick and was only vaguely reminiscent of the taste of gazpacho. It was good, but not great. I would be impressed if a friend served it, but disappointed if I ordered it in a restaurant. The pork was outstanding. It was tender and juicy and was the star of the plate. The grits were a touch too sweet for my taste, and I didn't really like the peach slaw. The fruit tasted pickled and had spices that hid any natural peach flavor. However, I can't say enough good things about the crunchy pork cracklings that were not in the description but made a surprise appearance on my plate. I wouldn't doubt if those pork rinds were what won over the voters.

Forest Mushroom Terrine, Sorrel Ice Cream, Sorrel Coulis and Aged Balsamic Dressing

Copper River Salmon with House-Made Pancetta Wrap, Ohio Strawberry Jam and Mustard Green Pierogi
These plates won the judges vote, which is hardly unexpected since they were by far the most beautiful dishes of the night. The appetizer looked like it would have been bursting with earthly mushroom and sweet leek flavor, but was sadly bland. The liquid-nitrogen made ice cream was cool in more than one way, but unfortunately tasted like sorrel, which is bitter and overpowering. It also stuck to the plate. The entree was my favorite of the night. The sweet-on-sweet combination of salmon and strawberry jam worked so well and the salty goodness of the pancetta was the right accompaniment. And unlike the sorrel in the appetizer, the bitter greens in the pierogi made a great counterpoint to the fish. And the mini-size was too cute. My only complaint were the pin bones in my salmon.

Bonus Pre-Dessert compliments of Chef Sawyer! Peanut Butter Cookie pictured atop Ted Allen's book, "The Food You Want to Eat"

Tiny cupcakes from A Cookie and A Cupcake in Tremont

More tiny cupcakes.
People seemed to like the cupcakes. I tried one chocolate and one yellow. Fairly standard fare.

Cars n' Trucks

Here are pictures of the cake and cookies from a young boy's birthday party, which had a loose theme of cars.

Grandma Cuckoo's Swedish Cut-Out Cookies

I made the cookies thick and the frosting fluffy, which is hard to see in the pictures. I frosted the cake, but left the decorating to the boy's mother. But, it was my idea to make the cake a road and put some of the cars and trucks cookies on it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cookies, Cookies and More Cookies

This year's cookies include (clockwise from CC Cookies) Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sour Cream Cookies, Kiefels, Gingerbread Cut-Outs, Pecan Tarts, Swedish Sugar Cookies and Rugelach. My grandmother made the Pecan Tarts and the Kiefels. The others were made by me and the gang. I can't link to most of the recipes because they're old and/or not easily available online.

Clockwise from left Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies, Decorated Santa Cut-Out, Kiefels, Coconut Thumbprints, Pecan Tarts. I made the coconut and CC ones, the tarts and Kiefels were still made by my grandmother and the Santa was made by my sister's husband's brother's wife. I just put it in the picture because it's pretty.